Metalapolis Records [Release date 26.08.16]
Maverick, from Northern Ireland, have been building their fanbase since 2012 and four years later their second album may well propel them further forward.
Whether or not they need the assistance of Alice Cooper guitarist Kane Roberts and The Poodles singer (on the track ‘Asylum’) is debatable but the connection with Jakob Samuel goes back to 2014 when they toured with the Swedish band in Europe.
Big Red is full of heavy riffage and strong melodic hooks plainly evident from urgent opener ‘All For One’, also characterised by the twin guitar onslaught of Ryan Balfour and Terry McHugh and rumbustious bass bravado from Richie Diver.
Further evidence of the band’s credentials is displayed on ‘Mademoiselle’, ‘In The Night’ (a standout along with ‘Beyond The Gates’) and ‘Forever’, the latter might be a more serious offering from Justin Hawkins’ mob.
The album’s consistency drops a little on a song like ‘The One’ or ‘Whiskey Lover’ which are a bit too predictable and perfunctory. The latter rocks along in true Thin Lizzy style but this more straight-ahead rock approach deviates slightly from the stronger material which reflects a more interesting flirtation with U.S. hair metal. And only on the attractive album closer – ‘Fly Away’ – do the band slow things down. A ballad!
Comparisons with any number of late-1980s/early 1990s bands is inevitable – Warrant and Ratt come to mind – but Maverick make their mark with a scarcity of slack and an impressive urgency. ‘Big Red’ emerges as a strong enough springboard to launch them – deservingly – to a wider audience. ****
Review by David Randall
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